July 22, 2014

THE SKED Pilot + 1 Review: “Seed”


SEED:  Monday 9PM on CW

A lot can happen between the creation of a TV pilot and the production of regular episodes: writer/producers may be hired or fired, audience focus groups weigh in, networks and studios (which may have had their own turnover) give plenty of notes, helpful and otherwise, and critics start to rear their ugly heads. Tone, pace, casting, and even story can change. Here at SHOWBUZZDAILY, we look past the pilots and present reviews of the first regular season episodes as well.

Previously… on SEED:  Years ago, bartender and serial dater Harry Dacosta (Adam Korson) donated his sperm to a clinic for cash.  Now, he discovers in short order that he’s the father of (at least) teen Anastasia (Abby Ross), and 9-year-old Billy (William Ainscough).  When they track him down, he also enters into the orbit of their respective parents:  mothers Michelle (Amanda Brugel) and Zoey (Stephanie Anne Mills) for Billy, and Janet (Laura de Carteret) and Jonathan (Matt Baram) for Anastasia, none of whom particularly want him around.  In case that’s not enough instant family, Harry almost–but not quite–sleeps with cute, neurotic Rose (Carrie-Lynn Neales), who wants to get pregnant, but when they don’t have sex, she heads to the sperm clinic, where… one guess whose swimmers she unwittingly selects.

Episode 2:  Seed picked up shortly after its initial episode left off, with both sets of parents enduring Harry’s entry into their lives, and his new-found children delighted to have him.  The Billy storyline could have come straight from About A Boy, as Harry became determined to make Billy cooler in the eyes of his schoolmates, and blundered into the right strategy when he showed up at show-and-tell to explain what a sperm donor was, in the process bleeding profusely from Rose’s accidentally hitting him with her car.  (Harry’s original idea had been to re-use the science fair volcano Jonathan had created for Anastasia, but Rose destroyed that, much to Jonathan’s grief.)  Meanwhile, Janet and Jonathan worried that Anastasia had inherited a low IQ from her biological father (he’d lied like crazy on his donor profile), but Harry aced Janet’s IQ test, as did his daughter–the punchline in the episode’s coda being that they’d both cheated.  The one bit of actual story development in the half-hour was the confirmation that Rose was in fact pregnant with Harry’s child, which they’ve both agreed won’t require them to have any kind of relationship, although it’s entirely clear that that’s where Seed is will-they-or-won’t-they going.

The main virtue of series creator Joseph Raso’s script was its speedy pace (aided by James Genn’s direction), along with the underlying tone of sweetness that leavened the perpetual insults that the other parents threw at Harry, and vice versa.  (They all showed up at the hospital when Harry was admitted after the car accident.)  In a way, Seed is the show that Ryan Murphy’s The New Normal was trying to be a couple of seasons ago, but Murphy’s weakness for grotesquery got in the way.  Seed is entirely unpretentious, and even though most of its gags are throwaways at best, they’re always consistent with the characters and the show’s tone.

Seed and its companion sitcom Backpackers (a much more painful piece of work) got awful ratings in their premieres last week, and if they survive the balance of the summer, it will only be because the programming is dirt-cheap (Seed has been airing for 2 seasons in Canada), and CW is already showing enough reruns.  Still, considering the other comedies that have popped up since late May, audiences looking for a few summer chuckles are as likely to find them here as anywhere else.

ORIGINAL VERDICT:  If Nothing Else is On…

PILOT + 1:  Modest But Likable 21st-Century Family Sit-Com

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."